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Us 13, Birmingham 9, George Wallace 9, Dr. King 7, America 6, Martin Luther King 4, Wallace 4, Lyndon Johnson 4, United States 3, Barry Goldwater 3, Washington 3, Mississippi 3, Moses 2, Baltimore 2, Martin Luther 2, Bob Moses 2, George Bush 2, Obama 2, Atlanta 2, Ivan Allen 1,
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  CSPAN    C-SPAN2 Weekend    News/Business. News.  

    February 23, 2013
    7:00 - 8:00am EST  

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lot of panic in the book business these days. i am glad that they do. this is novel. it would have taken them 100 years and held the book economy to get to something as novel as an enhanced e-book and they are doing it. i don't know how it will work. tomorrow in baltimore i am teaching a seminar built around this short book. i taught it before at other schools and chapel hill, my alma mater commuting from baltimore. this time is different in two respects, it will be built around a shorter books that reading is on the other is too to not have a seminar in front of me and people on line from all over the country and even outside the country around the world auditing this class in a test for whether or not we can use the same technology that will create an enhanced e-book
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but use that technology to invite large numbers of students to take part in sending questions and questioning to what is and get to know each other or using the web. there are a lot of newfangled items going on about how this is presented as i am struggling to catch up with myself. they instructed me how to sweet and twitter and facebook and all these other things but a lot of things like the enhance e-book i can't do because i don't have and i had but i do believe in the possibility of the immediacy year and if you are trying to tell legitimate story that is important from history you need to take every resource, every chance you can to make connections. that is the novelty side of what i am presenting here and i'm interested in what you have got to think about. the notion of repeating, using
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some language, i 6 things together in these stories. let me talk about misremembering, imbalanced sense of history, the urgency that lies in this book, why i want to do it, take this risk to try to make another connection with you. we had the inauguration this week of barack obama, january 19th, 2013. that very month is full of epic anniversaries regarding raise and american history, exactly 150 years ago since the emancipation proclamation by lincoln which is popularized in this story of the 13th amendment two januarys later in 1865 in a spielberg film that is nominated for the academy award. getting a sense of that history.
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but more pertinent for us, 150 years, 2013, up to get at sense of how tricky this history has been, i want you to think about the 50 year anniversary. fifty years ago this january in january of 1963, i was getting my driver's license. that was a big deal. martin luther king was resolved to go into birmingham this month, he decided and didn't tell his father and didn't tell any of his board members because he knew they would try to stop it and what he said was after eight years since the brown decision, descending the militia defending segregation have mobilized across the segregated states than the forces of freedom and we are about to lose our window in history and if i
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don't take more risk than i have the way the students have been taking risks, because he was unique among civil rights leaders in saying the students were ahead of him being ready to risk more, they were willing to accept more risk in the freedom rides and he was, he was a reluctant -- he was a reluctant witness, but he knew because of his ability, human nature is, there are certain things for which words alone are not powerful enough to change human beings. you have to amplify it with sacrifice. these young students are pioneers in history and politics. in january of 63 he said for the first time i am going to risk my life and he designed this plan to go into birmingham. later had such a big impact on me. he designed it, worked on it,
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january, february, march, demonstrations, in april woman in jail, but of attention, birmingham jail was not published anywhere in the united states. it had no effect. he was about to withdraw from birmingham in a colossal failure when he was talked into one of the grandest risks in politics ever, they said don't retrieved until you invite high school students, junior high school students and elementary school students to demonstrate in birmingham. there were debates in birmingham whether he had lost his sanity. to lose a campaign like this, to create such tension, he was criticized by everybody from president kennedy on down. these are untimely, don't pay any attention. he took the supreme risk and allowed children to march and that is when o'connor unleash
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the dogs and fire hoses and this was a tipping point for the united states because until that point many people including myself and a lot of our elders said the raise the issue is troublesome and segregation is wrong but it is somebody else's job to do something about it and i might write a petition or in my case wait until i get really old, maybe 30, and do something about it. i turnaround they hear these 8-year-old girls margin to dogs and fire hoses in birmingham and it broke the emotional distance most people had. that was 1963. we are coming up for the next five years on a series of amazing anniversaries from 50 years ago which in the span of history is a link. what i hoped the march of these anniversaries will do is to somehow bring america's appreciation for the meaning of
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this history for the future, not just the past, more into alignment with its true impact on history. and help you understand what i mean by this, think of one other thing from exactly 50 years ago this month, january of 1963. george wallace took off as governor of alabama in a speech, and inaugural address famously pronounced he would defend segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. he was speaking for a caste system that was pervasive not only in the laws and the state constitutions of all the southern states that the institutions, cultural institutions of the country, of separation. separation strictly by raise is what segregation was about. young black people couldn't go into libraries under law.
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many went to jail trying to go into a library. in birmingham you couldn't even play checkers with a person of a different raise in public. in the freedom rides, people went to prison in mississippi for riding on a bus even next to somebody of a different raise. segregation was pervasive beyond what we think. when you stop and think about it, it was pervasive in a lot of things far beyond race. there were no women at yale, whip at when i with their the student body is 95% male. there were no female students at the university of virginia of any race. the idea of women at west point
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was ridiculous. words they hadn't been invented. was known as the practice that they're not speak its name. beyond that, there were no seatbelts in automobiles. people said that would be socialists. when you turn on the television many shows were sponsored by marlboro and major cigarette companies that showed people being healthy, outdoors and sophisticated smoking. that was 1963, that was 50 years ago and a blank. no women in the clergy. nothing like that. george wallace pledges to defend segregation forever. obviously he failed. when he failed and the dam broke on segregation on the strength of the witness of those little kids that went to jail in birmingham, it broke not just for black people but it broke for the disabled, it broke for the elderly, it broke for women
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across the span, who had been at that point almost two thousand years of rabbinic judaism and never a female rabbi or female cantor, that was considered a ridiculous notion but within a few short years of the time the civil rights movement got people struggling over equal votes, what that means really down to its core, the first female rabbi was ordained and now nobody thinks anything of it. there are female rabbis and cantor's all over the place. and veteran of the civil-rights movement went on demonstration, struggling within herself about what racial separation meant and what i am saying is as dr. king
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says, the freedom movement set loose the widest liberation in human history far beyond strictly speaking the racial caste system that was deeply imbedded in the southern states and it did that and oxfords -- when i was 16 years old this audience was what makes raise we have here would have had all our problems because we would be worried about the ramifications of sitting here with these different people. of the klan was in tatters and the police weren't after as we would be worried somebody would be here and see us here and reported to our fathers as might lose his customers because word might get out and was always about somebody else, never me that imprisoned everyone, in the grand circle of fear and every breath you take is listed by the fact that that reality is no longer rather. those are the things we take for granted, those are the things we
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take for granted not only across racial relations but the fact that we are the sun belt now. we have professional sports teams in the south that we couldn't have when we were segregated. mayor ivan allen said as soon as dr. king about the civil-rights bill passed the city of atlanta built a sports stadium that didn't own with money and didn't have where it was located. it got the milwaukee braves to moved here to become the first professional sports team in the south. dr. king said that when negros which was the term than negated themselves from segregation, because it was right and went to the core premise of equal soles and equal votes, to the core of the constitution and the core of the scriptures it would liberate the white south. psychologically, economically, in so many other ways.
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so the question that i want to pose to you is the same question that drove me to say the second reason beyond the teachers, do this, try to make it salience, to get people to address the question of why is there such a tremendous disconnect between the broad liberation that has been used across the land at relatively low cost historically. people suffered and there were many markers and a lot of violence and psychic damage but for the amount of social change produced, it was remarkable civilized. it brought lots and lots of other people and yet in our public discourse today we still think public interchange, we have a largely cynical view,
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dominant idea in politics that government is bad when directed for the purposes of the civil-rights movement. we had that out of face and my illustration for it is it is so pervasive, george wallace, the same man who said segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever failed to protect segregation by raise or any of the other allied systems that divided people. in other areas putter overlooked. because we are not looking for them. we are not looking for the other areas. like the immigration act of 1965 which overturned a century and a half of exclusions for legal
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ellen -- immigrants people eligible for naturalized citizenship were strictly to the nations of north and europe primarily. all of asia and all of africa were excluded. in 1965 when lyndon johnson got the voting rights act fruity got to congress and said he got them on their backs now, we have got to open up the world. he revealed the national origins act which was a racial hierarchy their reserved 85% of immigration for people to become citizens to three countries, england, ireland and germany. he repealed that and made in a first-place first serve system for the 4 world for legal immigrants. he went to the statue of liberty, the dance that never again will the twin barriers of prejudice and privilege shatter the gate to freedom.
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and unconsciously, over not quite 50 years we have communities from all over the world. you go to a naturalization ceremony, of the most inspiring things you will ever see, we have korean communities, alien communities, people from all over the world, all over america, no foreigner too foreign to become a fellow citizen. we are not only the pioneer democracy in the world in building our constitution around an idea, but the only one that has followed through on that, saying because of this idea is an idea that we are fellow citizens in the laboratory and experiments of governments that all of us are in this together in a shrinking world and in the long run how we relate to korean communities and indonesian communities and all of that is a strength for us. that bill was passed in 1965 and
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i guarantee you not one person in a hundred to study the civil-rights movement understands that it is a third killer with the civil-rights act of 64, the voting rights act of 65, to build a structure that in the long run will be a great not only strength for america but a great inspiration. not because diversity is nice but because diversity is essentials in a world that is shrinking and you have to learn to get along with one another. we are unconscious of a lot of things that are of consequence of the freedom set in motion by this movement that struggled for eight years like dr. king said. we are not there yet, we have got to take more risks. go to jail. he finally ends segregation, and all of his staff says let's have
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chicken dinners on the nobel prize for 20 years and we have got to go next week, he is back in jail again. the mountaintop is nice but the valley calls and that witness, we are all blessed by it but we are unconscious by it and the example that i want to give you as to how great i think the disconnect is is george wallace who made that speech in 1963 could not prevent any of the great tides of coming to benefit all of us. if you have got a daughter and you want your daughter to have a whole world open to your daughter and your hopes stand on the shoulders of the civil-rights movement, i don't care who you are. all of this happened that george wallace when he could not prevent it was a genius in politics in inventing the for raises that are chillingly
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contemporary even today, when it no longer was respectable to defend segregation, he made it respectable to cut the process and play to the fears and resentments of the process as it was let use saying pointy headed bureaucrats were telling us how to run our businesses and where we could go to school and that they were in cahoots with a biased national media that had a racial agenda to help pointy headed liberals and tax-and-spend liberals' concentrate all effective power in the central government in washington. if any of that is familiar to you in contemporary politics, i submit to you that those for raises were invented by one of the great geniuses in modern politics and concentrated and they were george wallace. on top of that, george wallace
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had another part of his genius. he insisted in public that he had never made a single comment in his public career that reflected poorly on anyone because of raise. he would get indignant if you suggested that. that is part of a formula. a willful and consciousness to the power of raise in oce in ouy makes us blind slowly now is totally unconscious. people repeat those phrases because they are normal, from the right and left. people don't understand how much the left has contributed to the same sort of modern cynicism that does not take credit for the sense of capacity we should have. if we could tackle all of those problems in the 60s and let
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loose the liberation that benefits everyone of such low social cost, if we recover our sense of confidence and commitment and struggled to reach across the lines, that was the essence of the movement, the essence of martin luther king day, get outside your comfort zone which is what people in the movement do, let your knees shake and reach out to somebody across the line and take a chance you could create a movement. that is what a movement is. it starts with a small inspiration and growing through the history and you discover the power between you. george wallace is the opposite of that. take counsel of your fears, take counsel of your remittance and adopt a cynical and blind attitude towards the possibilities of democracy. cynicism is an appetite, not a judgment, not a measured judgment. democracy requires measured judgment and informed citizens willing to take responsibility.
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cynicism creates consumers who complain and have very low expectations and very low sense of citizenship. in that sense i think we are out of phase with what ought to be a great optimistic sense that if we could have done that in the 60s, now we have a lot of serious problems, an economy that has been stripped of its industrial base, facing international competition, environmental problems, just as problems, family problems. where is our sense of confidence that we can tackle these together and our strength is in the bonds we create across the lines that divide us? that is the essence of patriotism, that is what george washington, in that sense, what martin luther king and the movement were doing, confronting a system that denied people their natural strength to
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benefit everyone and subjugated people and figuring out ways that were productive to set in motion these freedoms that strength and everyone and the increase economy and the ties that bind and our comfort to sit here tonight. and we need to do it again in order to do that we need a better sense of our history. because our history is not just about where people sat on buses. our history is about our future and what fools we are going to use and what memories we are going to use and what myths we are willing to take to build strength across lines that divide us. it is not new that we misremember our history where race relations are involved. i think we should be ashamed of the left and the right that we don't do it and if you are interested in why, a different
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contribution. mentioned george wallace. i can also, people in the civil rights movement, turned against a lot of their own example. number one is not violence, not violence became unpopular among people of the civil-rights movement. the most powerful light the was the first one, there are a lot of other religions. the left turned against religion. when it was half of the movement's inspiration and half of dr. king's magnificent formula of = full and equal votes, one foot in the scriptures and one foot in the constitution and the next thing you know people are turning against the spiritual base of democracy. we misremembered the civil war for a century. i was growing up in atlanta, my textbooks said the civil war had nothing to do with slavery and we got a lot of sentimental gone with the wind and to this day there are text books in history
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that referred to the political movement that overthrew the reconstruction governments after the civil war and restored white supremacy in the south and paved the way for segregation, refer to -- textbooks refer to that as the redeemers. the redeemers redeemed the south. the religious word that in reality was accomplished by terror. terrorism as much as the terrorism that plagues the world we are so attuned to when it is not among us. so it turned, race has the power of turning our whole sense of respect and upside-down. that is a terrible thing. it turns politics upside down. one of the chapters, i put two jeb this together about 1964. in 1964 you had the democratic convention and republican convention. republicans were first.
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republicans were the party of lincoln eating in san francisco, they normally had 20% of their delegates, not quite 20% were african-american. 1964, they extol virtually all of them. only had 13 delegates, kicked them all out. barry goldwater met with two lawyers, william rehnquist and robert bork and announced their going to vote against the civil rights act of 1964 not for racial reasons but because it was a usurpation of states rights. instantly the first seven republicans on the ground i didn't even know any republicans when i was growing. republicans were yankees and holders except for extended judges who believe in a two party system that did exist. we followed democrats and the
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next thing, there was not a single member of the house of representatives and the republican party from texas or new mexico except for george bush the elder to the atlantic ocean, not one and that same year, they sprang up then not only to dominate a brand new southern republican party but to dominate the national republican party along the lines of those languagess the george wallace had invented and handed over to them. the same year, lyndon johnson, the chapter i had here, it is amazing there's not more news, really nervous breakdown, two delegates from mississippi, and all of the regular white democrats from mississippi who publicly pledge to vote for
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barry goldwater. the democratic delegates pledged to vote for barry goldwater and most started switching party instantly. he wanted to see them integrate. and mississippi freedom democrats walked out because they didn't think it was fair. carl sanders in one of the conversations you can hear and john connolly called lyndon johnson and told him if you even let those two symbolics keep that, the whole south will walk out of this convention because you'll be turning the democratic party over to the negro's and letting martin luther king decide who can be a democrat. and johnson almost as a breakdown on the phone and basically went to bed and said i'm going to quit. i can't handle this. i'm trying to turn the democratic party slowly toward a party that will represent the
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people. you and i cannot survive in modern life, virtually the exact quote. you and i cannot survive in modern political life eating these folks for breakfast to win election. we have got to let them vote, got to let them eat, got to let them shave and these folks don't do it. and he thought he was going to quit. i am no good in the south and what good am i? have this bill and it looks like i can't do anything. what i am saying is that race without any public acknowledgment either event or largely in history today turned the partisans structure of the united states upside-down in one summer. it is still not talked about. what i am saying is what i have
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learned from studying this movement all this time against my will because this power dragged me into it and i'm sure glad that it did, from frederick douglass to martin luther king to barack obama today, that magnificent progress that has gone forward, we have changed, more accepting, have a lot more blessings, a black man in the white house, but the acceptance in public culture of barack obama by millions of white people who voted for him is still largely on their terms, not his. is the people on the other side who were forced to accommodate across the lines, forced always, not a choice to deal with raise. including barack obama who can't talk about raise because if he does of the people who voted for him will find some reason to say he is emphasizing the too much.
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we are on tenterhooks. race is still there. it can pay enormous dividends in our future. toomey it is vital we get our sense of history more in line with what actually happens so we can restore our confidence and the capacity of government to move forward and i am not saying it is going to be easy, but i think it is -- five years of anniversaries of things that are great blessings not only for black people but all white americans and 0 world who are now sharing in this democracy. if you understand what it is doing and of vital path for us to do it but it doesn't happen automatically. it begins with every citizen. the great thing about the civil rights movement is that it shows the promise of democracy comes when you have a moral citizenry and the movement not to stand
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and the elected representative will respond whether they want to or not and sometimes they will inspire you with what they respond, but you need both those things coming together and you need to have a sense of history because that is where our citizens of comes and that is why i am up here with this short new book, 18 moments, i just mentioned one, those two conventions. in 1964 which were a fulcrum of history. let me stop. i said i would be short and i was longer than i wanted to be. plenty of questions about this, in a very broad scale. to address something that i think is coming up in the next five years. we are either going to come out
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of this bowl from, out of this unconsciousness, trapped the we are in, we painted ourselves into a corner, lots of people believe what provide their freedom is the shotgun in their closet and not the ties that bind us together throughout the course of american democracy and it is not true in history. it could be true and it is important to be vigilant against tyranny. it is also important, more important to stretch yourself to understand the true promise of our history because it is not obvious, it is not easy for anybody. we have a proven record of being unconscious to many of the things that are most inspiring. i count myself privileged to spend most of my life working on it. i commend it to you and let me stop there and take any questions you may have. thank you to the history center.
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[applause] >> please come to the microphone. >> yes, sir? >> i am curious to get your perspective. one area that has evolved since civil-rights is we have in the last election show we have become a majority/minority nation. you now have a country that not only do you have different people from different ethnic groups that a lot of blended babies that have come to this nation. you have an african-american president, you also have a president who i think david very good speech yesterday, very optimistic about the future that touched on the theory of looking at our gay brothers and sisters and making sure that they have the same opportunities as everyone else. the younger generation you are targeting this is the world they have grown up in. they haven't seen the things of
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the 60s. what passages from your book the want people to take any bold as the american citizens that you are trying to bring across? >> that is a very good question. i think you will find that one of the lessons is there are many kinds of leadership. dr. king openly confessed at times he was behind the students. he was at two, of my 18 chapters about bob moses. lot of people don't even know about him but almost a model of dr. king is like moses, the lawgiver, follow me, standing on top of the mountain, bob moses is the anti moses, quiet and mystical and a grass-roots person, we need what the leaders and i want to follow you but i
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want to go to the court house even if it is going to get beaten and arrested and jailed. there are different models of leadership. one thing is on its face, young people today need to know that people their age were leaders in serious problems in the 1960s but the race issue was so great that most adults in that period had opposed that they had and under the control ability, and people were flummoxed by what to do. if you are talking about looking a problem in the eye and figuring out what to do most of the old leadership in the 1960s was looking at it may be in the shin, certainly not in the i. the fact that you can have kids set forward a new never know when in your life cycle you are
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-- your testing moment is going to be is one of many lessons. the first chapter of this book, i spent lots of times trying to figure out how to begin and i began with dr. king's first speech on the monday after the bus boycott, when you come home and can't eat dinner because they may be head of the protest committee because they didn't expect it to do anything, they bring dependent on the young guy in town and he had to decide what to say, he couldn't have dinner and he walked in totally unprepared. most of the people are strangers to him. he was new in the community, only 26 years old and you could hear him in his speech and this is what i try to create, stumbling around to make a connection to an audience he doesn't really know. when he does make a connection,
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you can hear it. i believe if you go to the king center and listen to this they will let you do it and i hope they will because it exists. and strangers responded to what he was trying to say in a way that became a way of and a communion between him that made him forever a public person and it is a movement in the sense of where a movement starts. no one had a sense that that was historic and would blow up into a march where you could feel the voting rights act being born. that is when a movement bitterly starts. i would say the lesson is that young people can be important, movements are very complex things that involve internal struggle and people arguing and in conflict with themselves and reaching outside themselves over
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what is important to them and that the history of this movement shows adults too can change and i would say about robert kennedy, a primary example of that, somebody who has not studied that much today but if you look at him over the course of his career, what liberated him and turned him from a pretty hard-nosed cold war politician was race us someone who could go to sharecropper places in mississippi and talk about what they were eating and talk about hunter. that was the transformation in people like him and people and there are many doorways of doing it but in u.s. history, the chief doorway for change has
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been when people go through across the barriers of race and that is the lesson. good things happen when you do. anybody else? >> some of the missed memory of alabama at and when george wallace was making those proclamations in 63 in mobile, alabama, spring college had been desegregated since 1954. the change in my life changed with that class of 1954. i know i am telling my age but when i voted, the first time i paid poll tax some how i lost
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that received over the years and that really hurts me, but i think my change came in and it was catholic school, it was a jesuit school, and people ask me how did you feel, i said i felt like other freshman going to school. i was more involved in what i was going to wear and what i was going to do, but i remember every african-american who was in my class and they were not many, let's be honest. they were handpicked. but the school has grown and so my change started in alabama and i remember a picture of george wallace on the front cover of the new yorker magazine, and he was dressed like the statue of
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liberty. and it said rednecks in new york. >> there were plenty of them, yes. yes, sir? >> i appreciate your work, it is wonderful and i am sad that it is condemned but i appreciate you doing that. i would like to hear your thoughts, a book called king:and inconvenient hero. i would like to hear your thoughts with the missed memory of dr. king, full page ads in all the papers, corporations and such. i wonder how much dr. king has been sanitized, how much we need to remember what you have been talking about. and what dr. king would think of us at this point. and where we might go. >> let's be realistic.
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and george washington, all of them are, it is not a crime to sanitize dr. king, but the danger is when people unconsciously sanitize to make him more comfortable to them, if that is what you want, lots and lots of people everywhere i go say i can prove from dr. king's i had a dream speech that we should not be talking about race, we should only be talking about the content of character and i say that is absolutely right. if you were making the same effort dr. king made every day of his life to reach across the boundaries that divide people so that he could see character, that he was willing to go into the southern baptist seminary where they voted not to hear his speech and talk to people who loathed him to try to have the message out there and get a cross those lines. if you make those efforts and
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you are talking about character you will understand the meaning of race and won't need to talk about it so much but to say that i am only about character so i don't need to be talking about race is storage wallace and let politics don't have anything to do with raise. it is self the section. people can lose a sense of why they're doing . it is self the section. people can lose a sense of why they're doingce . it is self the section. people can lose a sense of why they're doing. it is self the section. people can lose a sense of why they're doing it. dr. king would probably say we of come along way but have a long way to go. we need to consult our deepest, that is what he said. he also always said democracy is a system of votes and a little piece of non-violence, a little piece of nonviolence shows we
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are going to -- the barack announcements agreement of americans is people who can stand george bush and can't stand barack obama are going to respect close enough to allow those go forward and that is non-violence and many other countries in the world including the ones in the headlines yesterday and the ones in the headlines tomorrow, people don't do that and that is why so much of the world is still in flames. yes, ma'am? >> a sense of stark reality that might happen if america does not reclaim that sense of history. regarding the promise of democracy, and what do you foresee in the next several years as the future of america evolves? am i asking a question?
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>> if you study history, sometimes it takes catastrophe to get people to wake up and the civil war is as big a catastrophe as you could possibly ask for. a century of segregation was a catastrophe for black people but most of the rest of the world was unconscious but that was the price to be paid for not remembering that history. if we don't rebuild our sense of confidence and faith in one another, any number of problems, social disintegration, poor education, how to adapt economically in a globally interdependent world could cause all kinds of social dislocations in the united states so i hope -- that is the great thing about it. why we should be so grateful to dr. king and not see him as the
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leader for black folks but a leader for fairness and dealing with the most troublesome problems we have. by that method if we do that we have a chance to address these problems before they become acute, before they become -- we have terrible social dislocation. there are very serious issues, the health of a democracy and the capacity of people, it is no joke that we surround and say we are totally dysfunctional. what i am hoping is some of that comes out of the culture. and a sense of cynicism about politics and don't see that politics starts with you and me and what we are going to do and who we are going to talk to tomorrow and how far we are going to reach to figure out how we are going to address any one of the serious problems that threaten the country that we can risk that sort of social
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dislocation that could be catastrophic. i don't care if you're talking about the environment, the economy, education, health, prison system, justice system and on and on. we have a large number. the ngo movement, non-governmental organization, public interest movement is why and divers and didn't exist 50 years ago. what it doesn't have is the cohesive sense that they are working on related problems that ought to create a sense of movement and some sense that we are indebted to history if our history were more accurate. i think that history is about the future and the future, the future is dangerous, then it will be less dangerous and more hopeful, the better sense we have of our history. i am a historian, you could expect me to say that but i am
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trying to put it in a different way. >> i also want to thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. i have grandchildren i definitely want to share it with. my question is about another age group. as i look around this room, i see a number of white males of a certain age who probably lived through much of the times you are talking about at some level or another. i am curious to know the response to your work from these men? white males primarily or whites of that generation. >> the ones who come to talk to me, that is pretty good. i don't know how big a sample that is of the larger population to come to some degree, i am
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preaching to the choir. i will say that some of my personal -- doing this look puts me largely in the black community for the research. the time might interact with white people the most is when the books are out and i will say that not exclusively, this is a cross-cultural history and i had to interview as many people in lyndon johnson's administration as i interviewed around far luther king but when the books come out and i try to talk to people, anybody who has read it, some of my most inspirational responses have been from older white men. women are better quite frankly.
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[applause] >> when you get something from a white man, all the more -- the movement was basically run by women as long as there was a microphone. that is a truism of history, and the digital age when men can do a lot of stuff for their computer and don't have to go out to set the table. >> to hear something from a white man. before you leave, before you leave these come down here. i would like to answer your question. because i was the young man in my 30s during the civil rights movement and one of the most
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shameful things that i feel is that i kept my mouth shut. i think i am not unique in this group. there was an intellectual debate that went on discussing america and the issue of property rights versus civil-rights and it was a heated debate within -- among my friends. but i want you to know that i am ashamed. [applause]
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>> thank you. two questions rolled into one. thanks for your talk today, it opened my mind in a number of ways as the teacher and a historian. on the one hand you talk about the unconsciousness, i love that, the memory, and it begs the idea of w. e. b. du bois when he talks about race as the major challenge of the 20th century, i want you to reflect on what your fema has been today and this idea of race the twenty-first century? how did you do 18? it came out to be 18 because you referred to that?
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>> to answer the second part first i didn't have 18 in mind. i just wanted to pay out, i wanted to pick out the ones that i thought were essentials to communicate this week of it, not the particulars. nobody says i am sorry you had to distill or abbreviate or make it compact, the others are not going anywhere. they are still there. i am hoping at least some small portion of the people who are introduced to the subject will want to know more about it. and go not just in my books but lots and lots of books and ones that are cited, it is up whole universe largely uncovered by hollywood, by the way because hollywood and i know this from 25 bitter years, trying to get any of these stories made into
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films, and they want to show, they are afraid of showing anything that will make viewers doubt that they are on the right side and therefore they can't show people in the movement themselves in conflict so that is what is real and they don't do it. so these things are really hard. i wound up with 18 simply because that was the span. i would say martin luther king, the first chapters about him and the last chapters about him being killed but of the 16 in between maybe half of them are mostly about king and other people. the freedom ride is the only event with two chapters and it is that significant because the freedom ride, a movement starts small and grows, it grows in
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scope and definition but mostly in the identity, the way people think of themselves, the freedom ride, young people literally expanding the scope of what was campus base where everyone thought was what we were doing when getting the degrees and by the end it was people said this is what i do and i am involved with anyone in the united states who went on the freedom writers and came in to jail and i'm willing to go anywhere so in so many respects expanded so i have two stories about the freedom rides, diane nash is the most overlooked central figure in that period so it came out that the stories turned out to be 18 and when i did i felt i could boil down the gist of it to give
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people a sense of it. you cannot do 800 or 400, let's see if you can do this at 305 very proud of this, i did it in under 200. [applause] >> i wanted to go the extra mile on the chance that what i am hoping is to have people say all! we are so out of phase, a few good about what we do, why is it that we don't and our politics is paralyzed and we don't talk more about race? i forgot what you said at the beginning. the problem with the 20 first century is the color line too. didn't go away just like my three books didn't go away. but i don't think it is as
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social. when he spoke, remember, the world was still colonized. most of the world was colonized at that time and literally owned by european nations and our only claim to fame was we said we didn't want an empire but we were growing into a super power and in some instances we got a pass. in that sense it really did make race through colonization a global problem. we are still dealing, a lot of truth to who said the world is still paying in terror and pain and dislocation today for anyplace in the world that a british or french diplomat drew a line on a map at the end of
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the nineteenth century weather was creating iraq or syria or all the nations of africa, we're still paying a price for that and there's a lot of race involved in that but also globalization and economics coming together to complicate it. if you are talking about the divisions that cause people to start thinking like enemies is very much with us. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> i want to thank taylor branch for being with us tonight, to be signing books in the library. i want to thank the livingston foundation for sponsoring this lecture and if anybody out there in california is listening, give this man and ipad. he could use do one -